A jet ski for fishermen

  Sea Doo’s Fish Pro is one of the first PWCs designed with anglers in mind.  

I finally have found something to not hate about personal watercraft: Some are being designed for fishermen.

I think I could get behind this use of the whiny little wavemakers that most anglers dislike.

A friend who makes small anchors for kayaks told me his company is also selling anchors to a growing number of saltwater anglers who use jet skis to get to their quarry. He said primary markets are both coasts of the U.S. as well as South Africa and Australia.

This gave me pause as those latter two countries have the reputation of hosting large numbers of giant great white sharks in their nearshore waters. I couldn’t help but imagine that a guy trolling along aboard his Sea Doo would look to a great white like a big Hula Popper surface lure does to a bass.

These PWC anglers aren’t just buzzing around mangrove trees in shallow water, either.

“I was talking with one of the Sea Doo pros who has been helping design these things and he told me they go 40 miles and more offshore,” said Thomas Langton of Tightline Anchor.

I’d heard of people fishing from PWCs, but this was the first I’d heard that companies were starting to design them with angling in mind.

One model is the Sea-Doo Fish Pro, which I discovered online while browsing to learn what I could about fishing from PWCs. This is a big personal watercraft, more than 4 feet wide and just over 12 feet long and weighs 856 pounds. It comes equipped with a Garmin GPS/fish-finder and a high-end cooler that attaches to the rear deck and that can hold several rods in its attached rod holders.

The Sea-Doo Fish Pro also features a “trolling mode” that allows the angler to select a low speed and let the PWC do the rest. It automatically maintains that speed without the angler needing to adjust the throttle.

The back deck can support the angler standing and casting, and the seat is designed to be comfortable whether facing forward or backward. It even has foot rests on both sides if the angler wants to sit sideways on the seat. Videos made the Fish Pro pretty appealing, which surprised me since I’ve been so committed to kayak fishing for the past several years.

Maybe I’m starting to feel the need for speed, since on my best day pedaling my 100-pound Old Town I can achieve about 6 mph, while these PWCs blaze along about 10 times faster. Yet, they don’t cost 10 times as much as a premium fishing kayak, which range from about $2,000 to upwards of $3,500. The Fish Pro’s list price was $14,799.

As more and more saltwater anglers are starting to fish from personal watercraft, it’s just a matter of time before we start seeing them on Lake Michigan and our inland lakes. When I see my first Sea-Doo, Yamaha or Kawasaki blowing down the lake with a couple of fishing rods behind the pilot, I don’t think most anglers will find it annoying.

Outdoors columnist Dave Mull lives in Paw Paw. Write to him at dave.sportfish.mull@gmail.com.